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Stock Downgrades: Happy Meal on Hold at McDonald's (NYSE:MCD)


Wall Street ratings agencies set the tone for today's stock market.

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Herbalife (HLF), which sponsors the ultimate Spice Boy, climbed 4.35% but, just for variety's sake, seasonings king McCormick & Co (MKC) slipped 1.81% on an up day and Campbell Soup (CPB) also ended off after shuttering a spice plant.

Old-school American Greetings (AM) gained 2.04% ahead of this morning's earnings announcement and Google (GOOG) sent itself an electronic birthday card. The tech giant turned 14 much better behaved than most other adolescents, finishing at an all-time closing high of $756.50. Elsewhere, Vulcan Materials (VMC) jumped 4.74% and Goodyear Tire (GT), inventor of vulcanized rubber, rode an analyst upgrade to gain 3.92%.

Today in economics, this month's Chicago Purchasing Managers' Index is set for 9:45 a.m. Eastern, with the University of Michigan's final figure for September consumer sentiment arriving at 9:55 a.m. On the corporate front, American Greetings, Finish Line (FINL), and Walgreen (WAG) are all due to release quarterly results.

ArcelorMittal (MT): MT is moved to Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie due to valuation issues and an overall lack of catalysts.

Box Ships (TEU): Morgan Stanley takes TEU to Equal-Weight from Overweight.

Caterpillar (CAT): CAT, one of several Dow (^DJI) downgrades today, is now Neutral from Buy at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

European Chemical Companies: Akzo Nobel (AKZOY) and BASF (BASFY) are each now Neutral from Overweight at HSBC Securities.

McDonald's (NYSE:MCE) The Dow component is now Neutral from Buy at Janney Capital, which says industry sources indicate US burger-sector same-store-sale comps for the first two to three weeks of September are on pace to be the worst month for the year. Its price objective is $100.

Reed Elsevier (RUK): RUK is reduced to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse.

United Technologies (UTX): The Dow member, maker of Otis elevators, is taken to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer after the company's analyst day. Concerns include economic headwinds and a lack of catalysts.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) Looks Like a Riser and Stock Upgrades: Atwood Oceanics (NYSE:ATW) Keeps Its Head Above Water.)
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